To provide space-based, academic instruction in a collaborative environment to international, pre-collegiate students while offering an introduction to the aerospace industry.
Foundation for International Space Education
The Foundation for International Space Education, FISE, is a 501(c)(3) private foundation with the mission to provide space-based academic instruction to international pre-collegiate students, while offering an introduction and orientation to the aerospace industry. To achieve this mission, The Foundation has set the following goals:
- Provide the opportunity and the venue whereby international students come together to participate in a space-based academic initiative
- Facilitate student development of a Manned Mission to Mars Project
- Provide subject matter instruction by space industry experts, appropriate team management by Team Mentors, and adequate research and development opportunities for completion of Manned Mission to Mars Project
- Develop student awareness of the many workforce opportunities available in the aerospace, life sciences and peripheral industries, and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education background required.
- Introduce awareness of international cultural diversity as an element in team building in preparation for international collaboration on space exploration initiatives
- Provide an introduction to American culture through appropriate social, cultural and recreational opportunities
United Space School Program Description
To accomplish the mission and goals, FISE established the United Space School, an educational entity managed, coordinated, and funded by the Foundation. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, with a panel of distinguished aerospace professionals serving in an advisory capacity. The Board strives to ensure a beneficial and enjoyable United Space School educational experience.
FISE invites students from various countries to Houston, Texas, to participate in United Space School, which is conducted during July and August. The participating countries and their respective schools are recommended by individuals associated with NASA JSC, as well as various international aerospace and education entities. Many of the countries invited to select students for Space School are currently partners in development and operation of the International Space Station.
United Space School's organization, schedule and curriculum are designed to provide the structure, knowledge, resources, mentoring, and appropriate settings to complete the project, a Manned Mission to Mars. To provide the knowledge necessary to complete the Manned Mission to Mars Project, a curriculum has been designed to provide appropriate training and development by instructors qualified and knowledgeable in the proper disciplines. Civil and contractor aerospace professionals are selected to provide needs-based instruction in topics relevant to designing a manned mission to Mars. Library and on-line research facilities are provided at the University of Houston Clear Lake campus.
To enhance and build upon this instruction, the students participate in a variety of space-related activities at the Johnson Space Center, the University of Houston Clear Lake, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Space Center Houston, the George Observatory at Brazos Bend State Park, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and/or the Moody Gardens zoological and botanical habitats in Galveston. These activities include a VIP Level 9 tour of JSC facilities, Challenger Missions, a special project at the George Observatory, and an international videoconference on life sciences, bioastronautics, and aerospace medicine at UTMB.
To complete the Manned Mission to Mars Project during the two week Space School Session, the project is divided into several teams, with each team responsible for a specific, integrated, portion of the Mission. Each team is designated by a colored uniform to promote team identification and solidarity.
Each time is assigned a specific segment of the Mars project. However, since each segment much integrate seamlessly with the other segments, often with duplicate components and/or requirements, for a successful Mission, each team must consider how their research and planning will affect and/or incorporate with the other segments. Many elements must be considered collaboratively.
The students will be hosted by families residing in the Clear Lake Region of Bay Area Houston, whose family members work within the aerospace community. The daily one-on-one interaction between the student and their family will provide many personal and professional examples of being a part of the American aerospace community.
During their two-week stay, the students will participate in several cultural and social events designed to provide a setting in which the students will demonstrate and share their respective cultures with each other and with their host families. Experiencing and celebrating international diversity as a Space School student is frequently the first step for these students as they work closely with each other on their respective Teams. Learning about the results of differences in communication due to language barriers, terminology differences, varying levels of educational competency, and cultural differences, causes these students to recognize how these differences are magnified in professional situations. The goal of Space School is to demonstrate that building upon diversity in an educational teambuilding environment can lay the foundation for international collaboration in space exploration initiatives, which will be required in order to design and complete projects of the magnitude required for successful space exploration and development.